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TENRYU 天竜

(1 November 1903-20 August 1989). Born Saburo Wakuta. B. Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. Famous sumo wrestler who entered the Dewanoumi Sumo stable in 1920, and gained promotion to sekiwake, sumo's third highest rank, in 1930. In 1932, Tenryu seceded from the Japan Sumo Association, taking with him dozens of other wrestlers, after spearheading a movement to reform the feudalistic sumo world. This event and ensuing developments were covered by the Osaka Asahi Newspaper from January 7 to 15, 1932 on the society page. He ultimately abandoned this movement, and some of the wrestlers who were part of the new organization were reabsorbed by the main group. He then moved to Manchuria to take up a teaching position. It was there he witnessed a demonstration by Morihei UESHIBA c. 1939 and proceeded to test the latter's strength. Impressed by Ueshiba's mastery, he returned to Tokyo for a 70-day intensive training session at the KOBUKAN DOJO. After World War II, Tenryu entered the broadcasting world and served as a popular sumo commentator on radio and television. In later years, he maintained regular contact with Ueshiba and YOSHINKAN AIKIDO. See AN#23-26, 76.

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